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Some of you may remember the wildly out of control and inaccurate MSM stories about a Portland (Maine) middle school adding reproductive health services to the public health clinic based in the school.  

For the history of the story and for those of you who still believe the school nurse was handing out birth control in the halls to 11-year-olds (as Fox would have you believe) see my previous diary as well as the ones by Oscarsmom and Spud 1.  Cross posted at Turn Maine Blue

The right wing made two attempts to challenge this, and both have failed.  

The Portland Republican City Committee initiated a recall election of 3 school committee members who voted to include reproductive health in the school based public health clinic.  
The Portland Press Herald is reporting today that they only got 92 signatures on a recall petition that required 3,000 signatures to be collected in the month of December.  (They had previously collected 500 signatures to initiate the recall, for a grand total of 592 people in a city of over 60,000 supporting the recall.) Now maybe the school committee should have realized how this vote would be seen and taken more time to educate the public about this issue, but that is not enough to recall them. I am proud of the people in my city for not falling for this recall.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a Pat Robertson funded legal organization (I'd rather not do the link, but they are easy to find if you really want to look), hired a local lawyer to represent parents and sue the school department.  However, their web site reported recently that they were dropping the law suit because the school had new permission forms clearly stating reproductive health was included in the clinic services.

Of course, the school department was clear right from the start that the permission form would state that clinic offered reproductive health services.  I suspect the ACLJ realized they had no legal grounds for a suit, or perhaps they couldn't find any parents to represent (once parents understood the permission form).  Perhaps they knew this from the beginning, but didn't care because it made for great fund raising.  

So, the entire issue seems to be past us.  There is still some debate about the legality of kids younger than 13 receiving reproductive services that is being addressed by the AG, but so far only kids 14 and older have reported a need for services and the public health department has said it won't serve younger kids if it is illegal. Our school has gone back to educating our kids rather than dealing with the media.  The kids who get their health care in the school based clinic will have the same health care services as all kids in Maine who have private health care. And our city has shown we won't be pushed around by the right wing and Republicans!

Originally posted to EJP in Maine on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 04:06 AM PST.

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